How many teachers does it take to change a lightbulb? None. Flipped learning means your classroom isn’t needed so we can all sit in the dark and save on electricity bills. Haha. Lightbulb jokes notwithstanding, there are 35 teaching weeks in our academic calendar at college, so I’d like to propose having a stash of 35 lightbulb-like ideas stashed in your idea sack to help keep you thinking about your teaching practice from a different perspective every one of those weeks. Also, if you’re doing a PGCE and you’ve been tasked with keeping a weekly teaching log, you might be wondering what to reflect on, how much should you write, in what style and with what purpose.
In my last blog post (https://carolslearningcurve.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/mirror-mirror-hows-my-teaching-using-the-sparkes-raise-model-for-reflection/) I shared Sparkes’ RAISE Model for reflection on teaching practice. If this is used effectively then a topic for reflection each week should emerge from the reflection of the previous week. However, generating an initial topic based frame from which to consider your teaching might require a bit more creativity. If you are suffering from such a blank page scenario, this blog post if for you. I’ve simply scribbled down the first topics that came to mind and bunged them in a list of 35: one for each teaching week of the year.
The list (below) isn’t intended to be prescriptive or restrictive. It’s merely a starter for 10, or actually 35 in this case. It would be likely though that after a teacher got going they would come up with their own list of topics for reflection relevant to their own teaching contexts or what they are personally learning, reading or talking about in their teaching networks at that time. It may be that you think some topics on this list are inane, futile and banal, debunked, outdated or just repetitive. The topics might also provide food for thought. Either way, as usual your feedback is appreciated. This list is, as stated above, simply the result of a 5 minute attempt to come up with 35 topics. Feel free to suggest other topics in the blog comment space below. Have fun reflecting! Carol 🙂
The 35 Ideas
Idea 1: Is the layout of my classroom working well?
Idea 2: Am I giving due thought to equality and diversity in my classes and lessons?
Idea 3: How well do I know my students?
Idea 4: What do my students really need?
Idea 5: Are my students learning and how do I really know?
Idea 6: Am I assessing student learning effectively and can I improve this?
Idea 7: Are my lessons ‘engaging’?
Idea 8: Do I differentiate? How and why?
Idea 9: Do I stretch and challenge my students?
Idea 10: How do I group my students for tasks?
Idea 11: How do I support weaker students?
Idea 12: Are “learning styles and preferences” relevant to my students?
Idea 13: What extension activities do I have to keep students busy?
Idea 14: Would my students benefit from homework: if so, how?
Idea 15: How do I embed functional skills in my lessons?
Idea 16: Am I helping quieter students to improve communication and confidence?
Idea 17: How well do I manage behaviour in my classes?
Idea 18: Have I got good rapport with students?
Idea 19: Are my roles, responsibilities and boundaries in place?
Idea 20: Have we addressed topics such as radicalisation/Prevent lately?
Idea 21: What students might be vulnerable or ‘at risk’ in my class?
Idea 22: Am I addressing the literacy agenda in my classes?
Idea 23: What ICT/TEL tools and resources might improve delivery of my teaching and learning objectives?
Idea 24: Is the seating plan in my lessons effective? Should it be tweaked? Or, live and let live?
Idea 25: Can I do something to improve classroom displays and maybe even develop working walls?
Idea 26: What are the basic resources needed for my classes?
Idea 27: Can I help my students be more motivated?
Idea 28: What am I doing to engage with others in the students’ lives? Do I need to?
Idea 29: How can I help students focus for revision?
Idea 30: How can I help students prepare for final exams?